UPDATE: Instead of an alarm clock, some people woke up to a small earthquake Sunday morning.

It happened just before 5:00 am.

"We heard and felt a big boom," Kitty Wright described.

Wright lives in Ringgold, near the epicenter of the earthquake. However, she wasn't sure exactly what it was at first.

"I mean, my first thought was thunder from a thunderstorm, then I was like no there wasn't anything in the forecast for that," Wright said.

Channel 3 Meteorologist Brittany Beggs said the earthquake was rather small, at a magnitude 2.4.

To put that into perspective, an earthquake that causes damage usually has a magnitude above 4 or 5, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

While Sunday morning’s earthquake caught many people off guard, it's more common you think.

Beggs said hundreds of thousands of them happen every year.

"Earthquakes happen all the time,” Beggs explained. “They're just so minute that people hardly feel them."

Beggs said there was a small earthquake just last week in Decatur, TN.

Which is why it's important for everyone to be prepared.

"You want to go in between a wall," Beggs said while explaining what to do during an earthquake. "So, a door frame is a really good idea. You can go underneath a table, something that's going to protect your head. Anything that's going to protect you from anything collapsing or falling."

It’s advice Wright plans to listen to.

"I think, from this point on, I’m going to start thinking about stuff like that because just knowing it can happen where I’m at living in Ringgold, Georgia, even though I know it happens all over the world, it's something I think needs to be taken more seriously," Wright urged.

PREVIOUS STORY: At 4:53 AM this morning, Sunday, a small 2.4 magnitude earthquake woke several residents in downtown Chattanooga and in East Ridge.  The earthquake epicenter occurred in Indian Springs, GA, just south of Graysville. Indian Springs is approximately 5 miles from East Ridge, and 12.6 miles from Chattanooga. No damage has been reported. 

Earthquakes are measured by their magnitude, using the Richter Scale. Here is the scale:

  • 2.5 or less: Usually not felt, but can be recorded on a seismograph
  • 2.5-5.4, Often felt, but only causes minor damage
  • 5.5-6.0, Slight damage to buildings and structures
  • 6.1-6.9, May cause a lot of damage in very populated areas
  • 7.0-7.9, Major Earthquake. Serious damage
  • 8.0 or greater, Great Earthquake. Can completely destroy communities near the epicenter.

Small earthquakes have been felt in parts of Tennessee and Georgia. Just two months ago a small 2.3 magnitude earthquake occurred in Trion, and 5 months ago, a very small 1.8 magnitude earthquake was felt in Dalton. Have a report? Email us at newstips@wrcbtv.com.

PREVIOUS STORY: A small earthquake was early Sunday morning in northern Georgia.

Preliminary reports say the tremor was a 2.4 magnitude with its center located about 1.86 miles west-southwest of Indian Springs, GA and struck about 4:53 am.

Residents felt the quake and peppered Channel 3's Facebook page with inquiries. 

United States Geological Survey data shows the earthquake was located about 7.5 miles underground.